Baby with deadly heart tumor wakes up from coma to smile at father giving family hope as they raise money for surgery
Michael's parents Emma and Stuart Labuschagne said he stopped breathing after suffering a cardiac arrest on March 16 and was put in a medically induced coma
14-month-old Michael woke up from a five-day coma and smiled at his father in a precious, fleeting moment.
Michael's mother Emma Labuschagne described it as a "moment I will cherish with every inch of my heart," while peaking with CNN. "To be really honest, it's got to be the happiest moment of my life," she added. "He is a living miracle, and we have never felt prouder of him."
Michael's parents Emma and Stuart recounted their horror after their baby stopped breathing in the early hours of March 16 at their home.
Responding paramedics realized Michael had suffered a cardiac arrest, and proceeded to shock him with a defibrillator and injected adrenaline to stabilize his heartbeat immediately.
Michael was rushed to a hospital where doctors placed him in a medically induced coma in order to prevent further damage to his brain.
They told the Labuschagnes, of United Kingdom, that their son has cardiac fibroma—a tumor that can potentially block blood flow to the heart.
Michael's tumor is enormous compared to the baby's tiny heart, measuring at 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches.
According to doctors, the baby boy's condition is so rare that there is no surgeon in the UK having the required expertise to remove the tumor.
They told the family they only had two options, either to wait for a heart transplant or find an expert surgeon outside the country.
The family then found out about Boston Children's Hospital in the US, which boasts a 100% survival rate with their Cardiac Tumor Program over the past decade.
"We researched the hospital and specifically the cardiac surgeons, Dr. (Pedro) del Nido and Dr. (Tal) Geva," Emma told CNN. "They have a 100% success rate and an exceptional reputation. From this moment we knew that we had to try and make this journey."
The embattled mother said the surgery would cost about $147,000, excluding collateral expenses such as travel, lost workdays, and full recovery.
"When we received a response from Boston confirming that he would be a good candidate for surgery, it did not matter what the cost was," said Emma. "We would pay any amount of money to save our child's life."
Emma set up a GoFundMe page as soon as they received the estimated cost for the surgery.
The response has been overwhelming, and the Labuschagnes have already surpassed their fundraising goal.
"We have had well-wishers and donations from all over the world!" she said. "We are unbelievably thankful!"
Now, the family is preparing to travel to the US in April for the surgery. Meanwhile, they are trying to spend as much time with Michael as possible.
"Looking at him, he is like any other baby," Emma said. "He is always smiling and grinning widely. His older brothers dote on him and he is a strong little character in our family. We are just so grateful for him, even with his medical troubles."